Pilots from Utah’s Hill Air Force Base trained alongside the U.S. military’s new F-35 fighter jet for the first time Thursday.
The pilots didn’t fly the F-35 but did participate in a training mission aboard F-16s, according to an Air Force press release. The exercise was at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Hill Air Force Base is to receive a squadron of 72 F-35s next year. The jets will be flown by 388th and 419th fighter wings. Those wings flew the F-16s in Thursday’s exercise.
While the F-35 is said to be more advanced than the 3 ½ decade-old F-16s, the Air Force anticipates the two aircraft will fly combat missions together.
Hill Air Force Base already provides maintenance on the F-35.